Compensation for disadvantages for students with disabilities

Students with health impairments caused by a physical handicap, chronic ailment or psychological illness often encounter disadvantages during their studies and when taking exams. To prevent these individual and situation-related difficulties, the University of Münster provides measures to compensate for disadvantages when completing required coursework and examinations. The possibility of receiving compensation for disadvantages is stipulated in all examination regulations for degree programmes offered at the University of Münster.

Compensation for disadvantages does not mean that students with disabilities are allowed to take "short-cuts" or are "given a pass". Rather the provisions serve solely as a (formal) adjustment to the study and examination requirements. The subject-specific and content-based requirements remain unaffected.
Even if two students have the same diagnosis, their impairments can have very different effects on their respective study and examination situation. Therefore, every request for compensation for disadvantages must be individually assessed and should match the symptom-related needs of the student. Students may request compensation for disadvantages without submitting an official diagnosis. What we require is a statement from a physician or medical specialist, describing the student's symptoms and their corresponding effect on his/her studies. The requested measures and possible options for suitable compensation should be precisely outlined in an understandable manner with reference to the medical statements or certificates.

If you have questions concerning these possibilities and measures or are unsure whether and what kind of effects – positive or negative – a request for compensation for disadvantages might have, we urge you to speak with the staff at the Student Advice and Counselling Centre (ZSB) [de] who offer transdisciplinary and confidential consultation. If you are preparing a request for compensation for disadvantages, you can receive helpful advice from the responsible examiner and the representative for students with disabilities in your faculty.
If you have questions concerning how to apply for and take advantage of compensatory measures, the staff at the Examinations Offices [de] can assist you further. Depending on the examination regulations, either the dean, examination committee or authorised examiner is responsible for making the final decision on the approval and implementation of the compensatory measures.

Process for requesting and receiving compensation for disadvantages

  • If desired, arrange a meeting with the Student Advice and Counselling Centre (ZSB), your faculty representative for students with disabilities, or your examiner for information and advice on conditions and options for receiving compensation for disadvantages.
  • Submit an informal application outlining measures to compensate for impairment-related disadvantages. Also include a statement from your physician or medical specialist describing your symptoms (diagnosis not required) and, if applicable, other certificates requested by the Examinations Office.
  • The request should be submitted as early as possible – at the latest, when registering for the examination – to ensure that compensation for disadvantages can be granted in time.
  • The request is processed by the staff of the Examinations Office.
  • The request is either granted or denied by the responsible representative indicated in the examination regulations (i.e. dean, examination committee, authorised examiner).
  • The student receives written notification of the decision by email or post.
  • The compensatory measures are implemented in consultation with the respective examiner.

Further information on compensation for disadvantages

For general information on the conditions and options for receiving compensation for disadvantages, we recommend visiting the website of the Studying with Disabilities - Information and Advice Centre (IBS) [de] which provides a comprehensive description of compensatory measures for completing required coursework and examinations. The information is also available in the handbook "Studium und Behinderung" [de]as a PDF download (1.28 MB).

For information on the legal background and university-related regulations on equal participation in higher education and the prerequisites for compensation for disadvantages, see the section Legal Background and Regulations.